Is It Worth Engaging Employees?

October 22, 2015

A business can either have employees who are truly committed and work for something much more than a paycheck or employees who have no real commitment to their employer and see their job as just a means to an end...a paycheck.

Who Is Engaged?

You've probably heard the following story or a variation of it. A man came across three masons. The first seemed totally unhappy and ready for the end of the workday to come. When asked what he was doing, the mason replied, "I'm cutting stones and can't wait for the day to be over."

The second mason seemed a bit more interested in his work. He was hammering and chiseling away almost not even noticing what was going on around him. When asked what he was doing, the second mason replied, "I'm shaping these stones, so they can be used with other stones to construct a wall. Not the worst job in the world, but I'll be glad when it's quitting time."

The third mason was carefully placing all the stones with precision exactly where they should be, fine tuning the rough edges, standing back to admire his work, and replacing and fine tuning where necessary. He obviously loved what he was doing and took pride in seeing the quality of his work. When asked what he was doing, he gazed toward the sky with a look of total satisfaction and proudly proclaimed, "I...I am building a cathedral!"

All the masons had the same job but quite different attitudes to say the least...three different men, three different attitudes, but all with the same job. What made the difference? Engagement! Employees must be engaged, and it is up to management to make sure employees are engaged. This might be through open-door communications, social activities, regular performance reviews, mentoring, or other forms of employer-employee interaction.

Not Only Masons

This same story might be changed with just a little different twist. You might walk through a business and ask several different individuals, "What is your job?" One might answer, "I'm a software engineer." Another might answer, "I'm in quality control." A third might answer, "I have specific responsibilities, but my ultimate job is helping my company succeed!" Who is the really engaged employee in this story?

The Difference

Regardless of the position or the business, engaged employees make the difference between real success and mediocre success...between mediocre success and sometimes failure. While at times management might feel as though "making the numbers" is all that is important, it must be realized that without committed and engaged employees, the "numbers" will never be made.

Let's ponder the second story a bit more. Shouldn't all employees be a part of the sales force? Whatever an individual's job title or responsibilities might be, everyone's job ultimately impacts sales in one way or another. It might be production, quality control, customer service, research and development, or marketing. An employee doesn't actually have to "sell" to customers to be a part of the sales force. In fact, the contrary is true.

Engagement is the Key

Employee engagement at all levels is important. Whether in a key position or an entry-level job, the synergistic effect of everyone committed to company goals and working together is what propels a business to higher levels. Businesses that invest time and effort to engage employees see a great return on their investment with committed employees.